Mum’s braised beef shin stew

Since unboxing my Dunwood Farm meat box I have had a hankering to go back to a traditional, familiar recipe after the Americana love-in that was my Farmer’s Choice box. As there was some beef shin in there, I decided to cook a recipe that my mum always does – a slow braised stew with Chinese ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms and Jew’s ear fungus (bit of an odd name, I know). These are dried store cupboard ingredients that every Chinese cook has, so it’s easy to whip up a meal at a moment’s notice.

As I said before, beef shin lends itself to slow cooking as it can be a tougher cut, while the gelatinous tissue release during slow cooking to create a wonderful texture.

You will need:

  • Beef shin, diced (I had about 500-700g)
  • 2 carrots
  • 4/5 large dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Handful of dried Jew’s ear fungus (can be replaced with other variants of mushroom)
  • Chopped ginger and garlic
  • 1 pint good quality beef stock
  • Oyster sauce

Firstly, the dried mushroom and fungus must be soaked in warm water for a few hours to rehydrate. In a casserole dish or saucepan, heat oil and brown the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add 2 tbsps oyster sauce and the diced beef, browning and sealing all the surfaces. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for one hour under a lid.

After one hour, add diagonally chopped carrots and the rehydrated mushroom and fungus. Simmer for another hour to two hours. Towards the end I added a bit of flour to thicken the liquid.

My braised beef stew turned out meltingly soft; that’s when you know when your stew is done. The beef was sweet and slightly pink still, this being the result of a braising rather than roasting technique. The stew itself is distinctly rich and woody – my favourite parts are always the vegetables because they absorb all the flavour. Serve with white rice to soak up all the sauces.

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